Giving statements matter for two reasons: you provide givers with a record of their contributions, and you get an opportunity to thank them. This simple step in year-end giving is critical for strengthening the sense of partnership between you and your church members.
Nonprofit organizations aren’t legally required to give their donors annual receipts. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service says it’s up to donors to request a receipt if they want to claim tax deductions for their charitable gifts.
But why pass up an opportunity to increase engagement and build relationships? Your givers faithfully support your ministry all year long. Annual receipts are a great way to show your gratitude and invite people into the church’s vision for the year ahead.
As you prepare your year-end giving statements, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.
Give donors the right information
An organization that fails to provide a proper donation record is jeopardizing the donor’s tax deduction.
According to the IRS, a donor who claims a deduction for a monetary gift of $250 or more must maintain a written acknowledgment from the nonprofit. The IRS says this donation record must contain the following information:
- Name of the organization.
- Amount and date of each monetary contribution, as well as the total amount.
- Description (but not value) of any non-monetary contributions.
- Statement of whether the organization gave the donor any goods or services in return for the contributions.
For most church donations, the record can say that the only benefit to the donor was an intangible religious benefit. However, if other goods or services were provided, the record must include a description of those benefits and a good-faith estimate of their value.
Share your vision with donors
Along with each donor’s receipt, include a letter from the pastor or board president.
Church leaders can demonstrate their appreciation for contributors and encourage their ongoing support by doing a few key things:
- Provide a quick recap of the great things your contributors helped the church accomplish during this past year.
- Share the church’s vision and goals for the upcoming year.
- Let people know how their resources will help advance God’s kingdom. Be transparent about the church’s financial situation.
- Share a finance report from the previous year, so donors can trust their gifts are being put to good use.
This article is adapted from its original version in the January 2019 edition of Ministry Team magazine.